The unmasking of Jack Night

It’s been a bit quiet on here lately… a mixture of self-inflicted DIY, bluesjamtracks work (including the London International Music Show) and the usual everyday stuff.

Anyway, this springs to mind as the most attention-worth bit of news I’ve seen…

Nightjack case kills the right of anonymity (Guardian)

In case you weren’t aware, Nightjack was a blog written (anonymously) by a police detective. I used to read it from time to time, and it was an interesting read, offering an alternative (and unflinching) view of British street crime from that portrayed in the Daily Mail, Guardian or BBC. I wasn’t the only admirer; Nightjack was awarded the prestigious Orwell Prize for blogging this year.

And then it all came crashing to a halt. “Jack Night”, the pseudonymous writer of the blog, failed in his legal bid to prevent the Times from revealing his true identity. Mr Justice Eady judged that “blogging is essentially a public rather than a private activity”, which is just a ridiculous over-simplification. Of course blogs are publicly accessible, and anonymity is frequently abused on the internet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions. The whole point of Nightjack, as a piece of journalism and an educational resourse, was that it had to be anonymous. Revealing the true identity of the writer makes the whole thing pointless.

Tempting as it is to hurl abuse at Mr Justice Eady, the real culprit here is whichever Times journalist thought it was in the public interest to reveal Jack Night’s identity. The gulf between new and old media is still pretty huge, it seems.

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